Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State Thursday claimed that Nigeria’s major problem has to do with the misunderstanding of the South-East people by Nigerians of other ethnic stocks.
While urging Nigerians to imbibe a nationalistic spirit and work for the oneness and development of the country, he stated that it is only the Igbo who go to another Nigerian tribe and settle and develop the community.
According to a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo, the governor made the appeal when members of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Owerri.
The monarchs, who were in Imo for the post-election peace summit, included the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, Ooni of Ife, Obi of Onitsha, Prof. Alfred Achebe, Obong of Calabar, Ediden Abasi, Etsu of Nupe, Alhaji Valiya Abubakar, among others.
Okorocha reaffirmed his faith in the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria but regretted that his firm belief in the unity of Nigeria had always been misinterpreted by his political opponents in order to discredit him.
He averred that having been born Igbo, raised in the North and empowered by the West, he had strong reason to believe in the country and its unity.
“The problem with our Country Nigeria is that they don’t understand the people called Igbos. Igbos, if I must describe us are the most misrepresented ethnic group in Nigeria.
“It’s only the Igbos amongst all other ethnic groups that can go to any other culture and settle to develop that culture.
“The Igbo man is the one who will hardly come back home to his grassroot without leaving a lasting impression of good development in the place he is living.
“But Nigerians have taken this for weakness. And that’s why at every side they’re chased from pillar to post as if they’re not part of the entity called Nigeria,” Okorocha said.
The spokesman for the monarchs, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ojaja II, said the group was aware of the political tension in the country, hence its resolve to intervene in restoring stability in the polity.
The monarch said that they were poised to join efforts with other segments of the nation in fostering unity and peaceful coexistence among the various tribes in the country.
He assured the governor that they would continue to support all “acts of governance in the country.”
He also said that they would sustain their campaign for peace and unity in the country “regardless or our political, tribal or religious differences.”
The monarch said, “What we are known for as traditional rulers is to foster unity and peaceful co-existence across the entire country, Nigeria.
“We are aware of the political tension across the country and we are here to make a statement that we all belong to Nigeria and Nigeria is greater than all of us.
“We are here again to take this campaign further and, as traditional rulers, we should wake up from our slumber.
“We should continue to support governance and all the acts of governance in this country.”
The Ooni assured Nigerians, particularly the South-East zone, that there would be “all inclusive initiatives to carry everybody across all the various geo-political zones along.
“We only know unity in the traditional institution in Nigeria and that is what we want to foster in the nation.
“We will continue to move across the length and breadth of this nation to promote peace, irrespective of political or religious differences inherent in those states,” he said.
In his own speech, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar stated: “We’re here today to mark the South-East post-election and peace conference of the National Council of Traditional Rulers. The unity of Nigeria is of paramount interest to all of us.”